I don't know if it's still like this, but if it is, and you're a thrill-seeker, you should give it a try if you get the chance. I'm talking about driving U.S. Highway 23 from Ashland KY down to Pikeville.

I was the passenger of a friend of mine as she drove that stretch delivering materials to schools up and down the highway as part of her work with the American Heart Association. That was in 1989, but I'll never forget it. U.S. 23 is a very windy and narrow four-lane highway on the far eastern border of Kentucky. And there were more coal trucks jockeying for position than you could shake a stick at. The road was theirs. Those drivers were comfortable on it and knew when and where to slow down.

We did not. Now, we didn't have an accident, but it was a bit of a white-knuckler, just the same.

The Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway -- a 'Feared' Kentucky Route

Not very far from U.S. 23 is where drivers can encounter the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway.

I don't know why H.B. Elkins felt the need to record that 15 years ago, but it's a good video to keep in mind as I inform you that this highway is among the 10 most-feared routes in the country, according to a report published by Florida dealership Gunther Mitsubishi.

Just How Feared is the Bert T. Combs Parkway?

The study surveyed 3,000 drivers and the results are listed state by state--one road for each state. And Kentucky's 60-year-old Bert T. Combs Parkway comes in at #6. Explanations are provided for the top five on the Gunther website, so we don't get one for the Combs Mountain Parkway. But maybe we know enough to speculate.

The Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway Expansion Project

We do know that the folks surveyed aren't the only ones concerned about the "treachery" of driving the Combs Parkway. Since 2015, the 75-mile-long highway has been undergoing a huge construction project in order to make it more modern and comfortable to navigate.

Perhaps that road work explains the parkway's placement on the Gunther list. Combine twists, turns, and mountains and you have a road--beautiful as it is--that may be a little too daunting for enough of those 3,000 polled to get it to the #6 spot in the survey.

It also might surprise motorists who are unfamiliar with that highway. If you look on a map, it may not look as bad as it's been determined to be. Who knows?

Google Maps
Google Maps

But I will say this, the work that crews are doing on the Combs Parkway certainly should mean it will either come off this list or drop precipitously in the near future.

(In the meantime, enjoy it. It's in an extraordinary part of Kentucky.)


See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

Offbeat adventures: Travel to the coolest hidden wonders in every U.S. state

Fuel your offbeat travel dreams. Stacker found the coolest hidden wonders in all 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.) using data from Atlas Obscura.

[WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter private or abandoned property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing.]

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